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Virtual Film Festival for Retailers Garners Early Support

16 Oct, 2002 By: Kurt Indvik

The Had To Be Made Film Festival, at which video retailers act as hosts to a twice-a-year festival circuit, has garnered some early support coming out of the East Coast Video Show, having signed up about 40 retailers to the initial festival promotion package as well as a number of large retailers who say they will support the entire first six-month festival cycle.

Participants include TLA in Philadelphia and Scarecrow Video in Seattle.

Retailers can promote the festival and encourage entries by taking a $35 counter display of two independent films: I Don't Know Jack and 7 Year ZigZag (two copies each, DVD or VHS), along with a tear-off information/entry form.

Entries into the festival will be accepted beginning Nov. 1 or earlier, festival organizers said, adding they have been deluged with interest from indie filmmakers responding to early marketing of the festival in the filmmaking community.

Festival staff, video retailers and select consumers will choose a group of finalists from the entries and from that group a jury of filmmakers and others from the motion picture community will choose the 10 films for the festival.

Then, from February to June, video retailers participating in the festival will receive two films each month for rental “screening.” Customers who “attend” the festival by renting the film also participate by going to the festival Web site to enter their comments, attend virtual press conferences with the filmmakers and, finally, vote for their favorite film in July. The winning film is eligible for a collector's edition DVD production and offered sales representation to all distribution channels, foreign and domestic.

The festival cycle begins again in August and runs through December.

“We wanted to make this as easy as possible for independent video retailers to participate in the festival,” said Mike Kyle, a business consultant for film studios and festival co-founder, along with Richard Green, an independent filmmaker, whose efforts as producer of I Don't Know Jack and 7 Year ZigZag inspired the festival. Both films have made appearances at other film festivals and are not for consideration at the Had To Be Made Film Festival.

Green said the festival allows film buffs to see cutting-edge films they'd have to travel to festivals to see, plus participate in the entire festival process from home. It also gives retailers a dynamic marketing promotion to attract customers, he said, and independent filmmakers have an opportunity to build an audience.

“It's been very exciting to see the response so far,” he said.

Information about the festival is available on the festival's Web site, hadtobemadefilms.com.

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